WHAT IS Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
Maryland Y Youth & Government is a program where high school students learn how to make government work! They elect their own leaders, legislate their own bills, and lobby for their vision of a better tomorrow. Students learn and carry out the responsibilities of various roles in our legislative process through a series of hands-on conferences and leadership opportunities.
WHY SHOULD I SIGN UP FOR Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
It’s fun! It’s really, really fun. And meaningful. Y Youth & Government is a place for you to find your passion and develop your voice; meet people that you never would have met otherwise; push yourself and others to think about the world in new ways; and take steps toward actively realizing a better future for your community. You will make lifelong friends and together you'll take the Capital by storm during a 3-day trip to Annapolis where you will use the actual state facilities as a venue for participating in the legislative process.
HOW DOES A STUDENT GET INVOLVED IN Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
Students participate in Youth & Government through local groups called “delegations.” Delegations are operated by local Ys, schools or community organizations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a current list of delegations. If there isn’t a delegation in your area, consider starting a new one!
HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO PARTICIPATE IN Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
The Maryland Youth & Government is open to all students in grades 9 through 12. Students in 8th grade have an opportunity to participate in a Sneak Peek program at our Annapolis Conference in April. Contact email@example.com for more information.
HOW CAN I START A Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT DELEGATION AT MY SCHOOL?
Start by talking with Y leaders, school administrators and teachers in your community or school and let them know of your interest. Then contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. We have many tools available to help Ys and school leaders understand the Youth & Government program and the benefits that hosting the program can bring to a local community.
WHAT IS A DELEGATION?
Delegations are the local groups through which students participate. Delegations are arranged regionally and in connection with a sponsoring entity, typically a Y Center or high school. Through the course of the year, participants will meet regularly (most meet weekly) as a delegation. Learn more about delegations at our delegation meetings page.
WHAT HAPPENS AT DELEGATION MEETINGS?
- Preparation for statewide conferences
- Leading and organizing peers and constituents
- Analyzing, thinking and communicating critically and effectively
- Respecting varying viewpoints
- Clarifying positive character traits and values
- Debating and practicing public speaking
- Facilitating and participating in community service
- Developing lasting relationships and have fun
WHEN/WHERE DOES MY DELEGATION MEET?
To find information about a specific delegation, contact email@example.com.
WHAT IF I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GOVERNMENT?
Y Youth & Government is not just for students who know all about government. Delegates of all backgrounds and levels of experience can achieve success in Youth & Government programs. After your first conference in Youth & Government, you will have a greater understanding of state, local, national and international governments.
IS Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT A PARTISAN PROGRAM?
Y Youth & Government is not a partisan program and does not encourage political party activity at its assemblies. The mission of Maryland Y Youth & Government is to develop personal growth and encourage life-long, responsible citizenship. Adherence to partisanship gets in the way of these goals. That is not to say that participants do not have or share partisan opinions. Students share their views on issues and politics as they wish, but not as a formal part of the programs.
HOW ARE ADULTS INVOLVED?
Although the actual Y Youth & Government conferences are conducted almost entirely by students, it is the preparation and coordination done by the Y professionals, adult program mentors, delegation advisors, and adult volunteers that make the program possible.
Adults fill the role of state board members, state office staff members, delegation directors and advisors, program specialists and resource advisors. The State Office requires that each delegation have at least one certified delegation advisor, as well as maintain a youth-adult advisor ratio of 1:10.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN ADVISOR?
Advisors are adult leaders (Y associates, teachers, or volunteers) that develop, support and supervise a delegation of students. Advisors also maintain administrative accountability and ensure the training of the delegates.
HOW OLD DOES AN ADVISOR HAVE TO BE?
All advisors must be 21 or older.
WHAT ARE THE PROGRAM ROLES?
Every delegate that participates in Y Youth & Government will also take on a specialized program role as a senator, a member of the House of Delegates, a page, a member of the press, a lobbyist, a lawyer or an elected/appointed official. For more information about what is included in each role, visit our PROGRAM ROLES tab.
WHAT IS THE COST? ARE THERE FUNDRAISING OPPORTUNITIES OR SCHOLARSHIPS?
The program cost for Y Youth & Government is $350 per person. The cost covers evening activities, program supplies and materials, publications, meeting space rental, lodging for the 3-day conference, security, advisor expenses, and Youth & Government associate costs. It does not cover the cost of food during the conferences, transportation to the statewide events or local delegation expenses. Financial Assistance is available from the Y in Central Maryland. Financial Assistance application forms are available by request at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Y does not turn away participants based on their ability to pay the full program cost. Within our available resources, every effort will be made to accommodate all who wish to participate. Fundraising opportunities may be available within local delegations. The success of any fundraising effort hinges on starting early.
WHAT EXTRA EXPENSES WILL I HAVE DURING CONFERENCES?
Extra expenses during conferences include money for meals, souvenirs and shopping, as they are not included in the program cost. All meals, except the evening banquet dinner, are the responsibility of the participant. Many delegates bring snacks and breakfast foods for their hotel rooms.
WHAT KIND OF EVENING ACTIVITIES ARE THERE AT THE 3-DAY CONFERENCE?
Each year delegates look forward to the Caucus Olympics and Ice Cream Social, usually held on Saturday evening. There is also the Youth Lt. Governor’s Banquet followed by a dance and social, usually held on Sunday evening.
WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE?
Business attire is required for all Y Youth & Government participants. You are attempting to model yourself after real-life leaders and officials in the political arena, and it's important to dress the part. Business attire should project a sense of professionalism that is accepted in the political and business world. For young men, this often means dress pants (and belt), button down shirts, suit jackets, ties, dress shoes, etc. For young women; dresses, skirts, dress pants, blouses, dress shoes, etc. Jeans, sneakers, hoodies, hats, t-shirts, etc. should not be worn.
WILL Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT HELP ME GET INTO COLLEGE?
Yes! Y Youth & Government will help develop your critical thinking and communication skills as well as provide the opportunity to take on leadership roles that are highly influential on college applications. Also, it is a great opportunity to develop the experiences that can result in strong personal written statements for college applications, and the relationships that result in strong letters of recommendation, also for college applications.